[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 28, 1991

Costs of Low-Osmolar Contrast Media

JAMA. 1991;266(8):1081-1082. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470080051027

To the Editor.  — Incomplete data in the hands of practicing physicians can lead to costly misallocations of health care resources. Since their introduction in the United States in 1986, low-osmolar contrast media (LOCM) have risen to just over half of the intravenous enhancement contrast agents used in the United States (William Hendee, PhD, unpublished data, November 1990).Although most practicing radiologists would agree that the newer contrast agents seem to be associated with greater comfort and safety, many radiologists are unaware of how costly a total switchover to these agents may be. Drs Jacobson and Rosenquist1 reported a cost-benefit analysis of selective use of LOCM and addressed the costs of treating nonfatal reactions by using fatal reactions as one measure of safety. These researchers estimated that if all identified low-risk patients (80% or more of all patients) received LOCM instead of conventional media, the cost of each life